Sunday Morning ~ Removing Them
Cikuni ca utsi koma kufumula. ~ The firewood that smokes too much remove it.
~ Chewa proverb
July 3, 2022
Current events rendered me unable to write for the past couple of weeks. Well, I did write; I just didn’t post the rambling litany of angry outburst that I couldn’t wrangle into anything coherent. No amount of editing worked; nothing meaningful could be sculpted. All my frustration, the unfairness of it all, the blaming, raging, name calling was a childhood temper tantrum on a page that did nothing but exhaust me.
I’m applying for a position in Malawi to work again on the midwifery ward project. I have this terrible association with my work there and the abrupt dark turn in our democracy. When I started working there in 2016 I thought the country would evoke memories of our emergence to a new era with our first woman president. I imagined celebrating there with other American expats. I knew she’d have a hard road to hoe, but she was capable of it. I was sure she’d endure the attempts to discrediting her successes. She knew what she was getting into. Her predecessor, I’d thought, survived more than his fair share of attacks and I had faith she would as well. No one could run for that office and expect an easy time of it.
Malawi is six hours ahead of eastern time, so we planned a breakfast party to celebrate the historic event expecting to watch the results steer us into a better future. I imagined bouncing off to teach with a spring in my step, excited about the possibilities for women’s health. Instead, we watched what could very possibly be the beginning of the end of our democracy. Foreign interference, misogyny, racism, and hatred was about to usher in a period I honestly could not believe would happen.
I walked to work that morning filled with a darkness and dread similar to what I experienced when my husband left our family twenty years ago. My horror, shame, and despair for the future was similar. But when it was only my personal life falling apart I had control of how I handled the situation. I grieved, railed, and cried endlessly to friends and (horrifyingly) strangers. I sought advice, got therapy, accepted help, and steered the train of my life onto a different track. In November 2016, I thought, this is not just me and my children, it’s the world. The foreboding was terrifying. That terrible morning I foresaw the world turning dark. I foresaw war, and suffering. Women’s lives, already more difficult than men’s, were about to get much worse. I saw it. I felt it in my bones. Many women did.
Following the stages of grief, I went from shock into a depression. I knew from experience with loss that the next stage, anger, felt better to me. Anger meant action and movement. The man in my life at the time infuriated me by telling me I was overreacting. A white privileged older man, who I thought had a shred of sensitivity to women’s issues, overtly dismissed the possibility that the calamity of that election would somehow be worse for women. He even made some stupid jokes about women that sent me into a rage. He didn’t get it. He didn’t understand how I could be so furious at his insensitivity. Having shared with him all my issues with my father, the Freudian in him blamed that. It was a convenient and perennial way of relinquishing all responsibility for perpetuating the misogyny and patriarchy. He refused to see how much he benefitted from it. He saw none of it as having to do with him.
As bad as I felt, I couldn’t even fathom what Hillary Clinton was feeling. It’s like when your friend loses a child. You grieve for her, grieve for what the future could have been, imagine yourself in her shoes, feel guilty your children are still alive, wonder if you could have done something, and still, you never know what it is like. You can only imagine.
Imagining the world and country we could have had, imagining the supreme court we could have had, I grieve. I guess I’m glad we finally know what we’re dealing with. I pray this motivates a generation who has so much to lose to vote in outrageous numbers. It’s our only hope. I pray people smarter than me can figure out how to firewall this disinformation targeted to specific groups causing them to vote against their own best interest. I hope the dragon has been awakened.
In 2016 I took much heart in the organizing and action groups that formed. If not for that activism I imagine how much worse this could be now. I wasn’t surprised when the verdict was announced. I knew this was coming. I saw the dismantling of our rights as soon as the election was decided in 2016. I spent my anger then raging against greedy republicans, racists, misogynists, and those who bought into the propaganda that Hillary Clinton was somehow evil or dishonest. I mourn the future we could have had with her. She was so right about everything. She warned us of this in 1995. She warned us of Russian interference with the election. She was so right. And we suffer her loss.
So, as many of us are now looking deeply at ways we contribute to the institutionalized racism in this country, I desperately hope men look at how they contribute to the misogyny. I hope they work just as hard for our rights as theirs. I hope every man who refuses to wear a condom goes straight to hell.
Obviously, I’m still angry.
But the smoking logs can be removed! We CAN vote out the criminals who brought us to this brink. While I am not a proponent of fear mongering, I have no problem instilling the fear of losing our human rights as women, losing our children to school shootings, and losing our health care. I will repeat this over and over and over: republicans have taken your right to choose; republicans don’t care if your kids die in school; republicans will take away your already meager health care. These smutty, stinking, smoking logs have got to go. It’s our only hope.
Two more senators and keep the house!
Love to all,